Kingfisher’s Take Home Trophy
The Southern Maryland Community Resource Center partnered up with its members and sponsored teams last weekend to kick off the dragon boat races on Solomon’s Island for the third annual event.
SMCR develops inclusive programs for citizens with developmental differences.
Bonnie Farland, the executive director of SMCR said the Dragon Boat Festival is their largest fundraiser for the year and it gives its members a chance to participate at low or no cost.
“It’s a wonderful time to be here,” she said as the festival got underway with the dotting of the eye ceremony. “I see a lot of our members here.”
Philip Goldfinch, the event manager and boat transporter explained the dotting of the eye.
“First of all I’d like to say I’m glad to be here again. I know how important this cause is to your community,” Goldfinch said. “It’s a pleasure for 22 Dragons to come here and be a part of the event and your fundraising. The dotting of the eye- in tradition we bring the dragons to the event and say that they are asleep. They’ve been asleep since the last race we did. In fact, these dragons were in Oswego, New York last weekend at a similar event on Lake Ontario.”
Goldfinch was thrilled to notice that Mother Nature was on the dragon’s side for the weekend.
“The wakening of the dragon is to get them ready for the race and dotting of the eye is tradition for the ceremony and so we’ll get started.” he said.
SMCR members as well as community onlookers painted the dragon eyes and well wishes and prayers were sent out on miniature boats as the sun was setting.
The festival kicked off last Saturday morning and the first race began at 9 a.m.
Many vendors participated in the festival. Trades of Hope by Compassionate Entrepreneur Jadalynn Orr explained her unique business that empowers women out of poverty all over the world.
“Currently we have 16 countries represented,” Orr said. “Our Haitian group corresponds with the bookmarks. They make cereal box beads. The little metal beads on the bracelet, those are from recycled oil drums which they have a surplus of in Haiti. The clay here is the same clay that they eat when they are starving.”
Orr is inspired because she is aware that there are 5,000 orphans in Haiti and when they learn this trade, they can learn to sell their product and in return empower themselves.
After an hour break for teams to rest a bit, they were back on the water with the trophy on the line.
Some teams that participated this year were The Spalding Castaways as well as the Cedar Point Castaways. The Great Mills Hornets were also represented on the water.
The first race of the day started with the Fiery Dragons round 1 between the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department and the O’Brien River Rats.
Presbyterian Power Paddlers, The Centurions and the Flying Water Dragons all competed in the seventh race of the day.
As the racing was coming to an end, it was a photo finish to the end with Kingfishers taking the trophy. Sharon Raymond has participated on the team each year.
“We placed I think eighth the first year and last year was sixth,” she said. “It feels great. When you’re in alignment and everybody’s paddling together it just feels like second nature.”
The teams only practiced one day.
“It’s a great community event,” Raymond said. “This is the best community and we enjoy this every year and the owner of Kingfisher’s Eric Faughnan is always supportive of Solomon’s Island. He was rowing with us today as well. He’s great.”
Bethann Caccivio said she was floored.
“We were so excited about being in the top three,” she said, “We thought we had done well, but had no idea that we had won when we walked up here.
We just couldn’t tell. The other teams were amazing. Some had times in under a minute in the very first race. We were on; we really didn’t care if we won. We thought first, second or third would be great. Truly when they called the second place team, we literally screamed; we had no idea.”
Caccivio said the trophy would be going back with her to Kingfisher’s for a year. Bragging rights are in order.
Second place went to the O’Brien River Rats and St. Aloysius Church claimed third.
Elward was pleased overall with the event and all that volunteered to make it happen. She wanted to personally thank board member Vanders Young for her dedication.
“Everyone really came together to make this event successful again.” Elward said.
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Tammy Showalter / Calvert Beacon Reporter